Recumbent Bike vs Upright Bike: What's the Difference?

Are you an avid cyclist, or do you ride leisurely and occasionally? Are you athletic, or do you suffer from arthritis? All these questions and more will help you select the best bike option for your riding style and body type. While many people want the newest trends, like womens hybrid bikes, others prefer the traditional self-propelled models. However, in the world of cycling, there is a great debate rising on the horizon between recumbent and upright bikes. Which bicycle do you prefer? If you are unsure, there are at least six comparisons that can help you decide.

1. Body Position

The primary difference between recumbent and upright bikes is the rider position. While everyone is likely familiar with the standard rider position on a traditional upright bicycle, the rider is reclined on recumbent bikes for women or men, with their legs out in front. The recumbent posture may seem odd to most traditional riders, but it can allow for a better center of gravity, meaning better balance.

2. Seat Style

One of the typical hassles for most traditional cyclists is finding a comfortable bike seat. The triangular seat, while necessary for correct leg position, is not the most comfortable, especially for heavier individuals. There is a resolution to the seat problem on a recumbent women and men's bike. The rider position requires not only a larger seat but also a backrest, meaning that cyclists receive a more chair-like and comfortable seat, which is beneficial for longer rides.

3. Pedal Position

Traditional bicycles position the pedals under the operator. Unfortunately, the under-mount position leads to riders standing when riding, which allows for wobbly posturing. If a cyclist isn't careful, they can hurt themselves. Recumbent bicycles do not allow for standing operation because the pedals are out in front of the rider.

4. Joint Impact

Recumbent bikes are low-impact compared to upright bikes. The laid back design keeps the pressure off of the hips and upper body, which is beneficial to those riders who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. However, bicycles, in general, are lower impact than most cardiovascular exercises because the feet and legs do not absorb shock with every extension of the legs.

5. Injury Risks

Recumbent bikes are a safe option for riders. The low design, improved center of gravity and inability to stand make the possibility of injury minute. With upright bikes, the balance or stability of the bicycle is based on the rider alone, making the risk of a spill more likely.

6. Overall Safety

Regardless of the advantages of one bike over the other, any rider should be safe while riding. There are risks involved with cycling that are out of any rider's control. Make sure you wear a helmet and pads, and if you choose a recumbent bike, be sure to install a safety flag.
No one can tell you whether to ride a recumbent or upright bicycle. The decision comes down to personal preference. However, if you would like more guidance on making a choice, contact a local bike shop to discuss your options.

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